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SC voter ID law turning into a political battle

"This is a political challenge," said SC State Representative Thad Viers, a Republican who represents parts of Horry County.

The challenge he's talking about is the Federal Justice Department's move to block South Carolina's Voter ID Bill into law. The bill would require all SC voters to show a picture identification at the election polls before they cast their vote.

According to the Civil Rights Voting Act, all changes in South Carolina election laws must be approved by the Justice Department because of the state's history of failing to protect the voting rights of blacks.

Last Friday, the Justice Department refused the change because it said the law makes it harder for minorities to vote.

"I think it's a great victory for South Carolina to know that the Justice Department has rejected it," said Darlington County State Representative Robert Williams, a Democrat. "Even though if they fight it, we realize that it disenfranchises so many minorities who can't get an ID or who is old in age as well as those in the nursing homes or other institutions. So I think the Justice Department did the right thing."

Those in favor of the bill say they'll continue to pursue the issue.

"We plan to appeal it," said Viers. "We measured this after the voter ID law in Indiana. We're just under more scrutiny because of the Civil Rights Voting Act."

The current voting process is "pretty fair," said Viers but he believes more needs to be done to deter voter fraud.

"(Right now) You just need a voter registration card. You don't necessarily need an ID...We're trying to make it more efficient and streamline the process. If you need it to fly, we feel you should need an ID to vote."

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